Because of IBM's dominance in the 1980s, SQL was destined to be an important language for database management. Oracle closely followed the IBM definition of SQL, the first of several vendors to do so, making it a de facto standard. However, SQL would not be such a universal data access language without the efforts of national and international standards bodies to develop a public specification of the language.
If the SQL language is the Rosetta stone that unlocks access to the world's information, then the SQL standard document is something of a Rosetta stone itself. Other than vendor documentation, the SQL standard provides the only formal, complete definition of the syntax and semantics of the SQL language.
The history of the standards process is interesting. In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Defense established the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL) to develop a standardized computer programming language for business applications. CODASYL developed the COBOL language and was the parent organization of the Data Base Task Group (DBTG), which in 1971 published a set of specifications by which COBOL programs might navigate databases that implemented the pointer-based "network model." It is from these origins that the efforts to formally standardize the SQL language arose.
Commonly known as the ANSI SQL Committee, the H2 Technical Committee on Database is chartered by the National Committee for Information Technology Standards ...